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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Katherine Kersten's Korner

Her new kolumn is up, and it's a two-fer: not only is it Katherine Kersten's Korner today, but more Metablogging: her kolumn is about MDE and those fearless bloggers.

Wingnuttia Level: 5 (Liberal? What's that? I see no Liberal here.)

I guess it is in no way surprising that Kersten thinks MDE is a great blog. It is, after all, written by somebody with close ties to the state Republican party. I don't quite know if it is really the talk of the town, but yes, he has had a couple of scoops (where he got that internal House DFL caucus memo remains a mystery). If you ignore the interminable mountains-out-of-molehills he posts on his blog (enough with the Kiscaden switching parties! You guys have Norm to answer for!), sometimes you learn things there before anybody else has the story.

Kersten describes the affair between MDE and Blois Olson, so if you haven't yet heard the story, it's there to see. She points out that the lawsuit that Olson filed could break new ground legally, which is true. She and Brodkorb take the Star Tribune to task for not defending his rights as an anonymous blogger and for giving Olson prime space to pitch his story. I know, you are all shocked that Kersten finds fault with the Star Tribune.

She then moves on to talking about how blogs are destroying the former media gatekeepers, bringing democratic discussion to the masses. Basically, all those things that self-important bloggers bring up to show how important and earth-shattering they are. I'm not terribly impressed by this kind of posturing from either the left or the right, but there are a lot of blogs out there that pretend they have a huge impact on discourse in this country. An impact, yes, but let's be realistic.

Because of the importance of blogs, Kersten says, people like Olson, who run the old-school media outlet Politics in Minnesota, may be feeling a bit threatened. To back her up, she finds a quote from Annette Meeks, from the Center of the American Experiment.

What? Forget for a moment that the CAE is a far right-wing organization, which means that in her kolumn, the only bit from a non-right wing person is one sentence from Olson. Fair and balanced she ain't. But Kersten herself used to work for CAE, and nowhere is this pointed out in the piece. Now, I guess there really isn't anything wrong with Kersten calling up her old pal Meeks and getting some choice quotes for her kolumn, but shouldn't there be some kind of disclosure here? As Atrios says, perhaps we need to convene a panel on blogger ethics.

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way, but it does seem to me that Kersten should acknowledge her ties to the CAE if she is going to be quoting members.

In the grand scheme of things, MDE really isn't a huge player. He gets an average of 1414 hits a day according to TLB (which is a whole heckuva lot more than this site). Even though a lot of the people reading his blog are political junkies, it's still a flash in the pan considering the size of the state. Brodkorb obviously enjoys blogging and I'm glad that he does. In the end, though, despite what Kersten says, blogs will be the ones that set the masses free.

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